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The Whore's Child and Other Stories

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,031 Ratings  ·  271 Reviews
With a fluency of tone that will surprise even his devoted readers these short stories capture both bewildering horror and heartrending tenderness with an absorbing, compassionate authority.

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his best-selling Empire Falls—also named the year's best novel by Time—Richard Russo now focuses, in his first book of short fiction, on a fresh and fasci
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 1st 2003 by Vintage Books USA (first published January 1st 2002)
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Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Richard Russo, once a teacher of writing himself, opens his debut collection of short stories, The Whore’s Child, in familiar territory: the classroom. Sister Ursula, who is “nearly as big as a linebacker,” deposits herself in the narrator’s advanced writing workshop, uninvited and unregistered. Despite the professor’s insistence that she write fiction -- “In this class we actually prefer a well-told lie,” he tells her -- she submits for the class’s consideration several hefty installments of ro ...more
Saleh MoonWalker
Despite the darkness of his themes, all of the stories are told with great authority and near flawless technique.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This is an enjoyable collection of stories. I admit I didn't especially care for the title story, which comes first, and made me wonder how the rest of it would go. It involves a bitter, mean-spirited old nun who made me happy I'd never been Catholic. In Monhegan Light is a California couple who visits an island in Maine, where the man's now-deceased wife has summered for years. The Farther You go seems to have been taken from (or was the inspiration for?) his novel Straight Man, and perhaps my ...more
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't find books - books find me. This book, in fact, is a prime example of the process. I was in BooksAMillion looking through the used library books ($3 each) and saw the name Richard Russo, who I thought (accurately) had won a Pulitzer, so I purchased the book, even though the title had stickers covering it. It was only later, halfway into the book, that I glanced at the spine and realized the title "The Whore's Child" seems designed to titillate... a kind of marketing oversell which, had I ...more
B the BookAddict
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: me: I love Richard Russo's work
Although I generally do not like short stories (simply for their brevity), being a Russo book I had to buy it. And I was not disappointed. Russo writes with his wonderful insight into both men and women, fashioning stories set in provincial towns. A nun in a writer's workshop, a retired professor and his wife on holiday, a boy of recently separated parents, a small town pianist with a mother who is a prostitute, two men whose boyhood friendship is really the only thing connecting them in the pre ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Someday I want to write this well.
Jan 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle age male professors
Wham Bam, another book read in two days. I must say this reading pace is quite satisfying. The book, eh. The first (title story) and last story were both unique and engaging. In between those the stories all seemed to be about middle aged professors and islands. Most of these men don't relate to the women they are with and almost all of them have some scene that involves the male lead character being shocked or worried about their female companion taking off their clothes in public. This was an ...more
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Love it! Except for the last story. Not sure why!
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm a fool for Russo's writing. These short stories are perfect in their examination of people and their machinations. Diverse, from a nun to artists on Monhegan, each story investigates the how and why of the characters lives.
Jan 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I started to read this book and thought, why does anyone write short stories? why not write a whole novel? Isn't this copping out? And then, in the penultimate story of the book, a character chastises another - isn't writing short stories just cowardice? Isn't it copping out?

I laughed, and enjoyed the dialogue, and realized how utterly playful these short stories were, not only because they played with me.

Russo's a wonderful wordsmith, and he captures characters and places with what appears to b
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This collection of Russo's short stories isn't as well know or as well received as his novels. I found them to be entertaining and well-crafted. As always, Russo seems to focus on family relationships and is skilled at understatement when dealing with angst and pathos. The title story is a bit of a departure as he usually focuses on men who are down-on-their-luck. This is a Belgian nun "nearly as big as a linebacker" who joins the narrator's advanced fiction class and tells her story in a series ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Richard Russo's strength is definitely in his novels, not short stories. That's not to say I didn't enjoy this book. He just needs that time and space to develop his rich plots and characters in the way we've come to love.

I think the first two stories are the best in this book: "The Whore's Child" and "Monhegan Light." "Monhegan Light" was definitely my favorite. "Joy Ride" is really quite good also.
Daniel Jr.
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It would be tough to ask much more from a collection of short stories. My only "frustration" was that the better stories weren't actually the beginnings to novels. I just connect with Russo's work so well. Now I'm re-reading THE RISK POOL.
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually read short story collections but I've enjoyed his other books so much, I gave it a go and ❤❤❤❤❤, ...more
Apr 17, 2012 added it
reading now...short stories...great writer!
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I started this book of Richard Russo's short stories after reading two of his books - one of which I loved, the other of which I did not care for at all. After the first couple of short stories I was almost ready to give up - but I persevered. Good thing, as I really liked the last three stories - especially the last one with the boys' baseball team. That one reminded me very much of the days my sons had been on such teams with similar types of parents and coaches.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great characters.
Rita Kelley
The Whores Child

A series of short stories some better than others each one is different. I must say I did enjoy this different approach.
Katherine B Kimball
I've always enjoyed reading short stories and these were compelling. Great characters and meaningful plot development.
Mary Kinietz
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Love the title character's opening lines for creative writing class.
Rohn Strong
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A quick read and worth investing time in. I loved every minute of it.
Marie Chow
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andy Miller
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A consistently good collection of short stories by Richard Russo. It is easy to understand why "The Whore's Child" was chosen as the title story. A nun from a dwindling order that has been moved to an old home shows up at a university's writing class. The nun writes of her early life as if it was fiction, the professor understands it is memoir but not her fellow students who critique the story as it is written and read out loud on different days in class. The story is bleak, a prostitute's baby( ...more
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
What’s not to like about Richard Russo? If you’ve read anything of his, you have to appreciate what he is capable of accomplishing without any apparent effort. His characters are real people who have to confront issues in their lives and go on living. They are middle-class average Americans. They have to deal with marriage, death, adultery, childhood memories, old age, and homes that offer them little solace. Sometimes his themes are a bit bleak, but it’s easy to get over. He is probably more re ...more
Jun 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Russo's collection of short stories began with something akin to a bad first impression. I wrote my many outbursts in the margin like, "Did he really write this??" because I was shocked that the same writer who wrote EMPIRE FALLS wrote sentences like," The woman in question had closed her eyes and reclined her head over the back of the seat so that her smooth throat was exposed to the weakening September sun." Which to me, though I LOVE description, seems way too much of nothing. There were part ...more
Richard Russo is one of the best American writers of today, and I thoroughly enjoyed his collection of short stories titled The Whore's Child until I got to the disastrous last story. This happens to be the collection's longest story as well, and it manages to overshadow the great impression left by the preceding truly great stories.

There are plot lines that you should not touch unless you are very sure you have something new and unexpected to contribute. The world of cynical adults as seen thro
Jul 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Richard Russo fans. Nothing spectacular or nearly as funny as his other work, though.
Recommended to Laura by: Barnes & Noble.
Filled with short stories--some with great potential to grow up and become novels, others are fine with simply never growing up.
"The Whore's Child" was a great start--highlighting the naivety of the elderly nun was somewhat revealing to me--about my own naivety, that is.
"This is a storytelling class, Sister. We're all liars here. the whole purpose of our enterprise is to become skilled in making things up, of substituting our own truth for the truth. In this class, we actually prefer a well-to
Nov 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I read and loved Empire Falls and recently read a short story collection edited by Richard Russo, so I was interested to read his short fiction. There are five stories in this collection and they are all well-written, subtle with complex characters. I especially enjoyed the two stories told from the perspective of adolescent boys (Joyride and The Mysteries of Linwood Hart) for their insight into the adult world and Russo's sense of humor when portraying flawed parents. The other stories were tol ...more
Susan N. Seider
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Each story was a gem of a tale that engaged me immediately in the details. Verisimilitude thoroughly soaked each story and I wanted more when it all ended.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
At this point in my life, Russo is my favorite author. I say this because I think he probably appeals to me as a middle-aged person, more than he would have as my younger self. This collection of stories mines some of the same ground trod in other Russo novels, but as usual does it movingly.

Russo is a very masculine writer in that he writes most convincingly and sympathetically about men, sometimes it seems to the point of slight misogyny, but that thought is overwhelmed by my interest in the
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RICHARD RUSSO is the author of seven previous novels; two collections of stories; and Elsewhere, a memoir. In 2002 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls, which like Nobody’s Fool was adapted to film, in a multiple-award-winning HBO miniseries.
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“I was the one who did come through that door. You were the one she was waiting for.” 9 likes
“What an absolute folly love was. Talk about a flawed concept.” 5 likes
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